These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Gasoline, Guns, and Giveaways: Is the End of Three-Quarters of Global Poverty Closer than You Think?
Center for Global Development
Amartya Sen’s famous study of famines found that a nation’s people died not because of a food shortage but because some people lacked entitlements to that food. In a new CGD working paper with Chris Hoy, we ask if a similar situation is now the case for global poverty: are national resources available but not being used to end poverty? The short answer is yes (but don’t stop reading…). We find that approximately three-quarters of global poverty, at the extreme poverty line of $1.90 per day, if not higher poverty lines, could now be eliminated—in principle—via redistribution of nationally available resources.
People-Powered Media Innovation in West Africa
As media ecosystems in West Africa are increasingly diversifying and opening up after decades of state control, innovative and independent journalism is advancing government transparency and accountability. New opportunities for funders are opening in tandem, with potential for both social and economic impact. This report explores several of these opportunities, surfaced through in-depth research on Nigeria and Ghana. While both countries lead the region in terms of both economic and media development, they operate under many of the same dynamics and constraints that exist across West Africa, and show how other markets may evolve, politically and commercially.
Our global institutions are not fit for purpose. It’s time for reform
World Economic Forum
The Brexit vote and the candidacy of Donald Trump are not exceptional developments. They are symptoms of a wider global phenomenon – a pervasive distrust in the political class, an expression of alienation and anger by those who have been bypassed by globalization, and an awareness that our institutions, designed in the 20th century, are not fit for purpose, that is to say, they cannot address the problems of the 21st century. The paradox is that at the very moment when we need to construct the building blocks of global governance, institutions like the European Union and the United Nations are under attack from the rising tide of populism and xenophobia.
How Technology Can Restore Our Trust in Democracy
The travails of the Arab Spring, the rise of the Islamic State, and the upsurge of right-wing populism throughout the countries of West all demonstrate a rising frustration with the liberal democratic order in the years since the 2008 financial crisis. There is a growing intellectual consensus that the world is sailing into uncharted territory: a realm marked by authoritarianism, shallow populism, and extremism. One way to overcome this global resentment is to use the best tools we have to build a more inclusive and direct democracy. Could new technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), data analytics, crowdsourcing, and Blockchain help to restore meaningful dialogue and win back people’s hearts and minds?
Africa's most innovative – and controversial – tech hacks
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Africa may be taking a great leap forward into the digital era. But when technology reaches a new area, the hackers are never far behind. Many are familiar with the African hacker cliche: revolving around a badly written email from someone, claiming to be a friend, for example, who has been mugged and needs an urgent money transfer. But the reality is more nuanced. Smartphones and Facebook may be ubiquitous, but the continent still lags behind in other basic infrastructure, such as reliable power. These gaps have created the perfect hacking environment, according to the technology expert Ethan Zuckerman, who describes Africa’s hackers as “world-class tech innovators”. Hackers have also stepped in to help citizens living under oppressive regimes and those who are aware of endemic political corruption but feel powerless to stop it. Here are seven of the continent’s most innovative, sometimes controversial, technology hacks.